After the announcement that the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership has now been given recognition by Central Government and will become the Northamptonshire Local Enterprise Partnership (NLEP), some confusion has arisen around who will hold responsibility for the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone.
I hope the following helps.
A LEP is a collection of Local Authority Areas and businesses who combine to attract enterprise and jobs to the area.
An Enterprise Zone (EZ) is a designated area approved by Government with special powers to bring business and jobs through the implementation of a Local Development Order. In effect a simplified planning process to make it easier for the infrastructure and building required to go ahead. The LEP within which the EZ lies is then allowed to retain the business rates and the business themselves are granted a rate free period.
Northampton is a full member of the South East Midlands LEP (consisting of Northampton, South Northants, Daventry, Corby, Aylesbury Vale, Milton Keynes, Luton, Mid Bedfordshire & Bedford). This area constitutes a population of around 2,000,000 and includes a wide range of major businesses and industries.
SEMLEP gave 100% support for the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone to go forward as their preferred option. The EZ is wholly within the Borough of Northampton and will be managed and promoted by SEMLEP and Northampton Borough Council with the Council taking the lead in implementing the Local Development Order.
The Northamptonshire Local Enterprise Partnership covers the County of Northamptonshire, covering around 600,000 people and. NLEP will look at further promoting the county to business as it does now through the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership currently funded by the County Council.
Northampton is the County Town of Northamptonshire and is clearly the driving economic force in the County and it is through the Northampton EZ that we will become a major force for economic growth in the SEMLEP region.
In effect the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone stretching from Midsummer Meadow to Sixfields is an economic development area under SEMLEP management.
NLEP will provide opportunities across the rest of the County but without the business rate benefits of an Enterprise Zone.
We will make every effort to coordinate our work with the Northamptonshire LEP but the Waterside EZ is solely the preserve of Northampton Borough Council and SEMLEP. However I fully expect that the successful implementation of the Waterside EZ will have wider benefits to the County and the efforts of NLEP.
Here’s to a productive partnership between SEMLEP and NLEP which can only be good for the people of Northampton, Northamptonshire and the region.
(My apologies for the number of acronyms used here, this appears to be the flavour of the times in Local Government)